Every successful marketer uses psychological techniques to attract, convince and convert prospects because people do not make a decision on their own — they are tricked into making a decision in the brand’s favor, who is smart enough to apply marketing psychology in its campaigns.

Here, in this post, I will describe six marketing psychology principles that you can use in your campaigns.

1. Impulse Buying

How many times has it happened to you that you went to the shopping mall to buy a list of 12 items but ended up buying 24 items?

Yes, it does happen with all of us, and this is what we refer to as “impulse buying” wherein people succumb to temptation.

Impulse buying happens primarily because of the following reasons:

The store environment: Have you ever thought why store owners spend a lot of money on store decoration, store fragrance, music etc? The reason is, they want to enlighten the impulse buying behaviour present in all of us. Hence, it is necessary for shop owners to keep POS machines ready in order to convert visitors into customers. Shopify POS is a great choice to accept payments anywhere and anytime.

Presence of irresistible offers: When you see offers like “buy 3 for the price of 1” or “buy 2 and get 2 free”, you eventually end up purchasing more than what you thought of purchasing, because your mind is tricked into believing that you are getting a better deal and you shouldn’t miss it.

Behaviour and Mood: For many people, the road to happiness goes through shopping. People feel happy when they shop for new and expensive items. Hence, brands evoke this feeling in the minds of the customers and persuade them to spend more.

As a marketer, you need to offer people an irresistible buying experience that enlightens the impulse buying desire in them. Apply the above factors to get it done.

Also read: 4 things you need to know about marketing your startup globally

2. Priming

Priming is a technique where people are exposed to one stimulus and this affects how they respond to the other stimulus.

Read the following word:


And, now read the following words:




Which word did you recognise faster?

I’m sure it’s APPLE, because we all have a semantic association with the fruit and its color.

This is what we refer to as PRIMING.

In 1999, North et al. conducted a field experiment in a grocery store by playing French and German music on alternating days and then calculating the sale of French wine versus German wine. Interestingly, more French wine was sold on days when French music was played and more German wine was sold when German music was played.

This is the power of Priming!  

3. Reciprocity

If I give you a pack of chocolates and then ask you to do me a small favour, you’re more likely to do that favor to me. This is what the principle of reciprocity suggests — responding to a positive action with another positive action.

We all have applied the principle of reciprocity in our lives. Consider the below examples:

  • A boy presents a bouquet of roses to a girl (expectation: her love).
  • A mother says she will gift a bike to her son if he performs well in exams (expectation: good marks).
  • An employee gifts some expensive articles to his boss. (expectation: promotion).

Now, you get the idea? As a smart marketer, you need to offer a reward, offers, presents to your prospects and they will oblige you by becoming your customers. Here are some tips that you must keep in mind when giving out promotional items.

4. Valence-Arousal-Dominance Model

The Valence-Arousal-Dominance Model is an emotional categorisation scale that states human emotions are made of three factors:

  • Valence refers to the positivity or negativity of an emotion. Positive emotions have a positive valence while fear has a negative valence.
  • Arousal refers to excitement and relaxation. Anger is a high-arousal emotion while sadness is low arousal.
  • Dominance refers to the dominance level a person has like when a person is low in dominance then the emotion evoked is “fear” while when a person is high in dominance then the emotion evoked is “admiration”. 

High dominance means high social sharing and high arousal means lots of discussions. Hence, you need to figure out which type of emotion is evoked by your content before you actually begin to measure the outcome of your content marketing.

Also read: Take advantage of FOMO and use shortage as a strategy if you want to get a crazy amount of users


FOMO or Fear of Missing Out is a psychological condition where people think that they will lose out to others if they don’t follow them.

As per Wikipedia, “FoMO is also defined as a fear of regret, which may lead to a compulsive concern that one might miss an opportunity for social interaction, a novel experience, a profitable investment, or other satisfying events.”

Here are some ways through which you can use FoMO in marketing:

Show to your audience that people are buying. When you display messages like “10+ million copies sold” or “More than 5000 customers trust us”, you are actually utilising the power of FoMO to convince your audiences to buy your products.

Display stock levels of your inventory in the product pages because this will highlight scarcity and urge the people to quickly buy the products.

Add a clock beside the offered deal because this will instantly persuade the buyers to take an immediate action.

Display the number of bag count beside the product to inform the customer that so many people have already added the product in the cart. If the customers do not act fast, they will lose the product. This strategy is adopted by online shopping platform Myntra.

By making use of proper FoMO strategies, you can effectively pump up your marketing ROI.

6. Loss Aversion

Loss aversion refers to the tendency of people to prefer avoiding losses as opposed to acquiring equivalent gains. The principle is an important part of economics.

People do not want to lose ownership of products or services. Loss aversion is widely used by companies selling services where the companies offer a 30-day free trial and at the end of 30 days people don’t want to lose their ownership resulting in paid membership.

Also read: Win people over with these 5 simple psychology-based tricks

Amazon Prime is a prominent example of loss aversion, wherein a Prime membership is offered free for 30 days by Amazon. For 30 days, people can enjoy watching new movies, listening to the latest songs, enjoying free delivery on products, etc. When people become habitual to these benefits, they don’t want to leave it. Amazon is constantly registering new customers using this loss aversion technique.


Do not forget the above suggested basic principles related to marketing psychology and try to implement them wherever possible. Powerful marketing campaigns are always powered by psychology principles that influence consumer behaviour.

Are you currently using any marketing psychology principle in your marketing campaigns? Please let me know in the comments below.


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